Switzerland ideal for cereal production

07-09-2007 | |

The security of the supply, exceptional quality in protein content of Swiss cereals and engagement in favour of the environment plead for a strong indigenous production, according to an article in the Swiss Agri weekly.

Switzerland is a cereal country. On a surface covering nearly 60% of the
rural area, the cereals unquestionably represent one of the pillars of Swiss
agriculture, for the production of bread and animal feed. Cereal crops in
Switzerland contribute largely to a secure food supply. Without indigenous
production, Switzerland would be forced to import bread grains in a volume of
450 000 tonnes and 850,000 tonnes of feed grains. This hypothetical situation
would be particularly painful in a situation with low global stocks and the
biofuel industry being a serious competitor for raw
materials.

Quantity and quality
Production of cereals in
Switzerland does not have to limit itself to quantitative considerations.
Indeed, the quality of the cereals, thanks to decent Swiss agronomic research,
constitutes a major asset. “Our cereals are champions of Europe in protein
content and certain varieties are even cultivated in New Zealand and Latin
America. This exceptional quality contributes to the manufacture of foodstuffs
of excellent quality”‘ the article in Agri said.

Environmental
considerations
Swiss farmers have committed themselves using methods of
production respecting the environment. Today, more than 98% of Swiss cereals
fill specific growth requirements and almost half of surface is cultivated
according to strict rules of the extensive production.

GMOs are out of
the question. The five years moratorium adopted in November 2005 guarantees a
reduction in use of GMO crops, whereas USA, Brazil and Argentina see their
planting of GMO crops increasing continuously. The article in Agri sums up two
more major reasons why cereals are so important to Switzerland: one, the crops
contribute to the diversity of the landscape, an important issue in a country
that needs tourist and two, the sector provides a job to 40,000 people upstream
and downstream in the chain, not mentioning the 2,000 Swiss cereal
producers.

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